Breastmilk and Infant Formula Feeding
For further information on starting solids, see the ‘weaning’ section.
Food Related Problems
If your baby has developed any food related problems such as constipation, reflux or you’d like more information on feeding premature babies – visit our Food Related Problems for Babies and Children page for further information.
Good nutrition plays a vital role in the early months and years of life, there is extensive and growing evidence that breastfeeding improves and protects the health of both mother and infant by preventing disease and thereby reducing the need for hospital or GP visits.
WHO and UNICEF recommend that children start breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. From the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate food while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond or for as long as the mother wants to.
For further information on Starting Solids see further down this page.
Vitamin D and Breastfeeding
Although vitamin D is found in small amounts in some foods or is added to foods it is difficult to meet the recommended daily 10 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D from food alone.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommends that some adults including women who breastfeed are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency so therefore should take a daily vitamin D supplement.
In response to this the Scottish Government are providing free vitamin D tablets to women who choose to breastfeed.
In Forth Valley these are available from health visitors, breastfeeding groups (currently suspended due to COVID 19 restrictions) and from Health Board Health Centre reception staff. See table below for information about venues and opening times.
Vitamin D in Babies and Young Children
Infants from birth who receive breast milk should also take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (µg) of Vitamin D. Infants who receive in a 24 hour period at least 500mls of infant formula do not require a vitamin D supplements because the infant formula already contains additional vitamin D.
Find out more about Vitamin D: advice for all age groups.
Get free Vitamin D
Collect Vitamin D tablets & drops at multiple locations.
Breastfeeding Support in Forth Valley
‘Together we can build a Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland’
It is recognised that in order to allow mothers to feel confident to breast feed wherever and whenever they wish, that changing Scottish attitudes and culture will be necessary. A one for Scotland national logo has been developed and is displayed prominently in premises where staff members know about the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act and the Equality Act and have been trained to support mothers who choose to breastfeed. Look out for the sticker and for more information on how premises in Forth Valley can sign up to the Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland Award email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland Map
Here is a map to help mothers / parents across Scotland to identify venues that are signed up to the Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland Scheme. This online map was created and is updated by an external organisation.
NHS Forth Valley Maternity, Health Visiting and Family Nurse Practitioner Services are accredited by UNICEF, Baby Friendly Initiative and therefore are trained to support mothers and families to establish breastfeeding and help with managing breastfeeding challenges.
In addition to the support your midwife, health visitor or family nurse can give there are others ways to access support. These include the following.
- The Breastfeeding Network – Forth Valley – have locally trained peer support volunteers in your area. At the moment the face to face support options continue to be suspended due to Coronavirus but there are still lots of other ways for you to get in touch with them :-
- Ring the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 (Open 9.30am – 9.30pm every day of the year) or message them on Facebook @NationalBreastfeedingHelpline.
- Email ForthValley@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk they offer support via email or arrange to call you back to offer support over the phone or via a free video call.
- Join in with a virtual breastfeeding group video chat to say hello to other mums and peer supporters without leaving the house! Details of the groups and links to join are on their Facebook page.
- Local Breastfeeding Groups – Find your nearest breastfeeding group via our NHS Forth Valley Local Services Map. Click the link then put your postcode into the box, under Service Type select Breastfeeding Group and then select the mile radius you wish to search then click Search. Due to COVID-19 these groups are not currently running.
Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding Resources
- Off to a Good Start – All you need to know about Breastfeeding – This book is given out by your midwife and it aims to help pregnant women, new mums and their families make decisions about how they will feed their baby. This resource is also available in Polish and Arabic as well as being online and in audio.
- Eating Well for Infants and New Mums – First Steps Nutrition Trust have a range of great resources, Eating Well for new mums, Eating Well: the First Year, Eating Well: Vegan Infants and under 5’s.
- British Dietetic Association – Food Fact Sheets Breastfeeding, Vitamin D.
- Formula Feeding – How to feed your baby safely – This is the latest guidance on how to safely make up infant formula. This resource is available in various languages, including an Easy Read version.
- Overview of Infant Milks – First Steps Nutrition Trust have carried out an independent review on infant milks and have information available to parents and carers, as well as health professionals.
- Vitamin D and You – This Public Health Scotland leaflet explains the benefits of getting enough Vitamin D as part of a healthy diet. This leaflet is available in English, Arabic, Polish, Traditional Chinese and Urdu and may be requested in alternative format such as large print, braille and audio versions. Available from HIRS Library – Code: PAE 04/L.
- Physical activity guidelines : pregnancy and after childbirth – UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, 2019. Infographics explaining the physical activity needed for general health benefits for women in pregnancy and after giving birth.
Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding Websites
- The Baby Friendly Initiative has a range of useful resources and videos for parents and carers on breastfeeding, bottle feeding and infant feeding.
- Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods – Find out more about the Pregnancy and Baby Payment – You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to the day your baby is 6 months old.
- Parent Club – This Scottish Government website has further information on breastfeeding and formula feeding and details of where to get further support.
- Ready, Steady, Baby – Takes you right through your pregnancy and beyond and has information on Breastfeeding.
- First Steps Nutrition Trust – Is a charity which provides clear, evidence-based and independent information and support for good nutrition from pre-conception to five years. They have some great Eating Well Resources.
- Coronavirus (Covid 19) – Pregnancy and Newborn Babies – NHS Inform
- Unicef – Support for Parents – This website has a range of useful resources for parents on infant feeding and relationship building, as well as information on overcoming common breastfeeding challenges such as sore nipples, thrush, tongue ties, mastitis and more.
Helplines and websites for UK wide voluntary organisations
- National Breastfeeding Helpline – 0300 100 0212
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers – 0300 330 5453
- The Breastfeeding Network – Helpline 0300 100 0210
- Bengali and Sylheti: 0300 456 2421 Tamil, Telegu and Hindi: 0300 330 5469
- La Leche League GB – Helpline 0845 120 2918
- National Childbirth Trust – Information on pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenthood. Helpline 0300 33 00 700
- Allergy UK – 01322 619898
- Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods – Call 0800 182 2222
Starting Solids ‘Weaning’
Starting your baby on solid food, sometimes called complementary feeding or weaning, should start when your baby is around 6 months old. Giving your baby a variety of food, alongside breast or formula milk, from around 6 months of age will help set your child up for a lifetime of healthier eating. The resources and links below will give you more information on how and when to start your baby on solid foods.
As you start weaning your baby and introducing solid foods, they may be at risk of choking. Find out what to look for and what to do at St Johns Ambulance – Choking Baby Advice.
Starting Solids ‘Weaning’ Resources
- Fun First Foods: An easy guide to introducing solid foods – You can access this booklet by Public Health Scotland in various different languages and formats eg there is an audio version available on request.
- Getting Started – Quick and easy recipes for baby and all the family – NHS Forth Valley booklet – A pictorial step by step guide detailing how to prepare family meals which are adaptable for starting solids.
- Drinks for Babies and Young Children – This Childsmile resource details appropriate drinks for babies and young children. This resource is available in different languages.
- British Dietetic Association – Food Fact Sheets Complementary Feeding (Weaning) Your Child, Vitamin D.
- Eating Well for Infants and New Mums – First Steps Nutrition Trust have a range of great resources:
- Allergy UK have produced a Weaning Support Pack for information about weaning babies with food allergies.
Starting Solids ‘Weaning’ Websites
- Parent Club – website is crammed full of the latest babies and toddler hints and tips from real parents and professionals. Visit for tips on Food and Eating and introducing first foods and weaning, sleeping, playing and more!
- Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods is a Scottish benefit providing help to people and families on low incomes. The benefit is paid to women who are pregnant and families who have children aged up to the age of 3. Best Start Foods is a payment that replaces the UK Government’s Healthy Start Vouchers in Scotland. Call to see if you are eligible 0800 182 2222.
- First Steps Nutrition Trust – Is a charity which provides clear, evidence-based, independent information and support for good nutrition from pre-conception to five years. They have some great Eating Well Resources.
- Weaning and Feeding – NHS – How to move onto solid foods and drinks, meals ideas and food safety.
- Allergy UK – Find out more about cow’s milk allergy in babies and children or download their Allergy Weaning Support Pack.
- La Leche League GB – Starting Solids – Has information on signs of readiness to start solids, good first foods, foods to avoid and more.
- Start 4 Life – Have information on breastfeeding, baby vitamins, weaning, weaning recipes and meal ideas and much more. Please note this is a Public Health England / NHS campaign – some of the resources and services are only available to individuals living in England.
- Bliss – Weaning your premature baby
Vegan Diet for Babies and Children under 5
- Vegan Diets for Infants and Under 5s – The Vegan Society
- A Nutrition Guide – For vegans under five years old – The Vegan Society
- Eating well: vegan infants and under – 5s – First Steps Nutrition Trust
Looking for Infant Feeding Training?
Our Public Health Nutrition Team at NHS Forth Valley offer a range of training courses around safe infant feeding practices and how to gain breastfeeding friendly status to NHS staff and partners – Visit our ‘Training’ webpage or download our Capacity Building Training Brochure for further information.
For further information on the Breastfeeding or Infant Feeding or the training we can offer, please email Lesley Hetherington (email@example.com) Community Dietitian / Infant Feeding Co-ordinator.